Final Verdict: Napoleon didn't die from arsenic poisoning

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Definitive evidence that Napoleon did not die of arsenic poisoning is published today.

After nearly 200 years of debate about what killed the French emperor, researchers at Italy's National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) have examined his hair to shed light on the suggestion that he was poisoned by guards during his exile in Saint Helena, an island in the South Atlantic, following the Battle of Waterloo.

In 1961, an elevated level of arsenic was found in Napoleon's hair, inspiring widespread rumours about the cause of his demise. But his autopsy revealed no telltale signs of poisoning. Now a new study has concluded there was no significant increase in arsenic levels in his last years.

Drs Ettore Fiorini and Ezio Previtali of INFN, who did the study with Angela Santagostino of the University of Milan at a small nuclear reactor at the University of Pavia, will publish their findings in the journal "Il Nuovo Saggiatore".

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